Monday, 31 December 2007

Shopping as sport

I may not have done any running today but I have certainly managed to shop!

This morning I headed over to Highpoint for a few essential exercise bargains. Nike Women were having 25% off everything in the store, so I bought myself two new pairs of capri running pants. These ones have the zip pocket, which is great. I was tempted to buy more stuff while I was there, but I have decided that I'm back to focussing on weight loss when I return to Canberra. I'll be changing sizes again regularly, so I'll make do with the tops I already have.

I cruised past Jag to see if the jacket I spotted last week was still there. Fortunately for my credit card someone else has that particular bargain. I then visited Rebel Sport, where I tried on some rash vests and decided that the necklines were too high for me. I have been trying to work out what to wear when I do the swim leg of the triathlon, but I think another bargain I spotted has solved the problem for me. There's this hardcore-looking sports store near Rebel that sells whey powder and has really muscular sales staff. I was in there the other day admiring some of the gear when I spotted Enell bras for 10% off. That's a decent saving. Also, I bought my last one online so I was saving the postage and handling too. (Sorry about the detail guys, but we gals have to point out every cent we saved to truly enjoy a bargain.)

The store had my size in black. I figure that I can cope with a black bra showing under my swimsuit. A white one would have looked too daggy, but black will look like a regular crop top (I think). I will test it out when we do the lake familiarisation sessions in a few weeks.

Back in Rebel Sports I bought myself some knee and elbow guards for my next cleat-related ground-impact session. I also bought a new food and exercise diary and a pedometer. When I left Highpoint the carpark was full, so I was glad I'd made the effort to get there early.

Later in the day I took my Mum to the doctor and then we went shopping. Not as much fun as my earlier expedition but definitely good for Mum. She is feeling frustrated that her heart operation hasn't resulted in an immediate recovery to champions league shopping but her doctor reminded her that she is still healing. Oh, and there was an added benefit. Mum bought me lunch. I love being able to exploit senior citizens by allowing them to spend their money on me.

After visiting three supermarkets and several other stores, albeit at 'walk slowly and sit down often' pace, we came home. Mum is currently recovering with a power nap. One thing that the expedition brought home to me is that it's a good thing that I decided to work on improving my health and fitness now. Hopefully I won't need the replacement heart valve or suffer from diabetes when I'm Mum's age.

I don't do New Year's resolutions, so I haven't got any to share with you. I hope you all enjoy your New Year's Eve celebrations and that 2008 brings you everything you wish for yourselves. All the best.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Morning run

This morning I met up with Kathryn at 8 am. She had mentioned that Simon might be there but it ended up being just the two of us. We headed off at talking pace and talk we did, the whole way around. It was much better weather for running today, thank goodness. I don't think I would have made it very far if it had been hot again.

We ran around the tan and around the SiS course, so ended up doing 8 km in a little over an hour. Not fast, there was a little walking in there. My legs felt like lead today, which was hardly surprising as I haven't done all that much running over the holiday break. Still, they got me to the top of the Andersen Street hill again. It's a great feeling.

While we were chatting I realised that I know Simon. It's such a small world. I used to teach him back in the early 90s.

This afternoon I went to see Golden Compass with my sister. I'm glad I've seen it. Great special effects. I don't know that it's inspired me to read the books, although I'm sure I'll go and see the sequel at some stage.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Hot run and bbq

It was already 28 degrees when I was picking up some of my nephews. Jim dropped his three down at President's Park for me. We checked the direction of the wind and headed off down towards the paddock where my sister keeps her horses. While I'd been told President's Park was near the stables, I hadn't realised just how close it was.

Simon and Lachlan were really keen to get going, as this was their first run with us. I had to slow them down for the warm up as they took off like bats out of hell. It was hilarious running with the six boys. They were all ahead of me and I was taking up the rear on my own. Eventually Simon came back to me and ran with me most of the rest of the way.

We had the "adults don't get out of the way of children" talk but we only passed one person on the path. The boys all dutifully ran past him in single file. I got quite a grin from him as he came past me. I found the run a little hard at the start, as I couldn't seem to get my breath. I guess the coughing and spluttering does make a difference. Once I settled into it though I was ok.

It was a short run today. After a couple of km's we were passing reasonably close to the carpark so I suggested we head over to get some water. Everyone was more than happy with that idea, but once they'd stopped they weren't at all keen to keep on running. Given the temperature, that made a lot of sense. I suggested a short run to the bridge and back just to bring it up to 3 km. Simon wasn't up for it, so I ended up staying back at the playground with him. All up I ran about 2.5 km.

While the others were off finishing the run and I went off to get the bbq food out of the car Simon found a wallet. To our amazement a substantial amount of money was in it along with some ID, indicating that the guy was a P-plater and was from Daylesford. Simon rang his mum to see if she could get a phone no that matched the address. We were hoping that if he was nearby he could come and collect the wallet while we were still at the park. Simon's mum managed to locate a mobile no for us but I didn't get an answer when I called. In the absence of any other options, we decided that the police station was the way to go.

The two Andrews cooked our breakfast, sausages and bacon, and the other three sat and chatted. So much for choosing a venue with a playground! The older kids enjoyed being in charge of the barbecue and the younger kids enjoyed eating the food, so everyone was happy. We had a bit of a discussion about the wallet and how the young lad would be really pleased to get his money and his wallet back safely. I'm sure the boys would have loved to keep the money but they knew there was no chance of that happening. I made sure I let them know what a good thing they were doing by handing it in.

Jim picked his trio up and I headed off with Andrew and Michael to the police station. On the way, the guy's sister phoned us. As you'd imagine, she was really pleased we'd found her brother's wallet. I told her that we were dropping it off at Werribee Police Station. I'd never been there, so it was an adventure for me. I was all set to hand it over the counter and leave, but the police man had to fill in a property receipt. If I'd realised the paperwork would take so long I would have found out where the owner was and dropped the wallet around to him myself. Still, the policeman was cute and the kids were entertaining. I'm thinking of hiring them out as an act for waiting rooms around the country.

Oh, one for JoJo. I scraped my car on my sister's gate. I hate her gate but I usually manage not to bump into it. This time there is an impressive set of scratches on the rear passenger side of the car. Oh well. They go with the other bumps and scrapes on the car. This had me thinking of one of life's unfathomable questions. How come other people's cars always look so perfect? Don't they take them out of the garage?

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Just walking

So much for a training plan. I've been sick. Nothing serious apart from feeling generally miserable. No chance of sympathy at home though, with Mum recovering from her heart operation. She's doing really well by the way.

On Christmas Day I took the three youngest nephews and one of the Andrews off for a walk. We were at my sister's new house in Tarneit, so we went for a wander along the fitness track. All three of Sandra's boys were keen to come with me as they haven't gone the whole way down the trail. They still haven't, but they had a ball walking under bridges, trying to catch tadpoles, clambering across stepping stones and testing out the various fitness stations on the way.

Funnily enough, none of the adults was the least bit interested in coming with us. They missed out on a lot of fun. It was good to get away from all the delicious food too. We were gone for about an hour and a half, which was longer than we'd planned. The kids were having such fun though that I didn't have the heart to tear them away from their adventures. It's also given us a third venue for the larger group to go running.

I'm taking the oldest six running on Saturday. Simon and Lachlan will be joining us for the first time. They are really keen on the idea and have been practising on the treadmill at home. I can see that the two of them will be tearing off ahead of the rest of us. All that energy amazes me. The kids are excited about the idea of cooking breakfast too. I think I'll be able to go and play on the swings while they look after the food.

Even though Tarneit looks like the best venue I've decided President's Park is the place to be. I'm leaving the two youngest behind, which is easier to do if I pick Andrew up.

I've been doing a lot of coughing and spluttering so I've taken it easy over the past few days. I didn't go anywhere yesterday at all. I am feeling a lot better today though. This morning I walked over to the local shopping centre to get my hair done. In the past I used to think it was way too far to walk and I still allow too much time to get there. It's a lovely stroll and I'll be doing it again tomorrow morning to visit the beauty shop. Trish and I are going to venture out shopping in the afternoon. I'm sure shopping in the Christmas sales counts as serious exercise!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

The extreme Christmas shopping I had planned for today was a major success. I arrived at Highpoint at 9 am, parked right outside my preferred entry, stormed the centre and had all my presents bought by 11 am. After seeing enormous queues everywhere in Canberra for the past couple of weeks I was dreading the time it would take me, but I had obviously chosen well. I had the added advantage of knowing exactly what I wanted, which made it easy.

For those of you who aren't from Melbourne, Highpoint is a mega shopping centre. I've been a dedicated Highpoint customer since 1977 so venturing into the crowded shops in late December is a major part of my Christmas tradition. This morning I did briefly entertain the idea of heading over to Werribee Plaza as it has turned into a really good shopping centre, but I was completely certain that I'd be able to find everything I wanted in Highpoint. The riskiest present was one I was buying for Janet. I did have to go to three places before I found what I wanted. I was starting to wish I'd bought it in Canberra when I first saw it, but I hadn't wanted to carry it home on the plane. Mind you, it was in the shop closest to the car. I hadn't gone in there earlier as I didn't want to lug it around with me all morning. Yes, I could have taken it back to the car but then I would have lost my great car park. Important lesson for shoppers new to Highpoint at Christmas time - never, ever, ever take your shopping back to the car and then leave the car again. If you want to see your shopping again either go home or move your car to a far distant car park.

There's often debate in Melbourne about which is bigger, Highpoint or Chadstone, so I just did a little research. According to their websites Highpoint has over 400 stores while Chadstone has nearly 400. Chaddy has more expensive stores, but I'm a westie so I'm more than happy with Highpoint.

I called in at Sunshine Plaza to pick up some Village movie tickets and I was home before lunchtime. Everything is safely wrapped and under the tree or in my bag, ready to be taken to my sister's for the family Christmas extravaganza. I'm really looking forward to it.

On the exercise front, today is a rest day, so I enthusiastically rested. I was really pleased to discover that my knee wasn't at all sore after yesterday's run. Thank goodness. I had thought about going swimming, but thinking about it was all I managed.

The main difference for me this Christmas is that I will be running tomorrow. That's definitely a new one for me. I'm looking forward to that too.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Lots of running today

I'm going to feel this tomorrow. I'm already feeling it today. I went running twice today - not once, twice!

I'd arranged to take Andrew, Laura and Michael running at lunch time today, but when Kathryn suggested a run this morning I was more than willing to go along with her. We met at the Tan near the top of Anderson Street at 10 am. Not surprisingly, we chatted the whole time.

The first time up Anderson Street hill I had to slow right down. Kathryn's run it quite a few times this week, but this is only the second time I've managed to run the whole way and usually we've only just started our run. I was really pleased to make it to the top. I was quite convinced on the way up that I was done - no more running for me - but once we crested the hill I was ready to go around again. After a few stretches, off we went on our second circuit of the Tan. The time just flew.

After running most of the way we were back at the base of the hill. I thought about walking up it, but decided to ask Kathryn if she wanted to walk it or run it. She chose running and so I set off again. It seemed much easier the second time, mainly because we'd walked from the 0 km marker to the base of the hill. All up, we were out there for just over an hour, before heading off for coffee.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kathryn's company. It was great to meet up with her in person. We're going to do another run between Christmas and New Year.

The kids were waiting for me in Werribee. When I got there they were full of beans so my sister was quite glad for me to take the three of them off her hands. Andrew (not the one I ran with yesterday) had been dropped off after Mass, so he didn't have a drink bottle with him. I'm glad he mentioned it before we left, as I'd emptied mine earlier. A quick dash to the garden hose and we were off. I don't remember the last time I've filled up a drink bottle from a garden tap. This running is definitely taking me back to my childhood.

We went for a run along the Werribee River. I checked out the location to see if it was suitable for the whole gang and there was a playground and barbecue as well. The run is prettier so we have two places to go now. The kids quite like the idea of cooking breakfast after a run, so I'll have to organise a time to have the whole crew along before I head back on New Year's Day.

We didn't measure our run last time so I was quite interested to see how far we'd gone. It looks like my estimate of 4 km was pretty good as we reached the turnaround point in 2.05 km. We went a bit further today, just because we could. Laura took off running with Andrew. She knew the fast running would mean that she would have to stop and walk, but she was having fun so she did it anyway. Michael ran with me. The poor kid got a stitch, which he seemed to have for most of the run.

Andrew's one of these kids who is just naturally good at sport, so he was running along effortlessly. Laura and Michael did a little more walking than running. I knew I was going to do more running than I have for ages, so I was thinking about walking, but somehow I managed to run the whole way. I made it to the 5k mark before stopping. It was a real effort of mind over legs. I didn't run fast but I made it.

Altogether I ran 12.6 km today. That's the furthest I've ever run. I was out running for almost an hour and three-quarters. I'm feeling stiff and sore now and I'm sunburnt. It was overcast most of the day and it didn't occur to me that I'd need sunscreen. I should know better!

Tomorrow's a rest day and I'm supposed to do pace intervals on Tuesday. I'll have to walk around the creek tomorrow and find a nice straight stretch so I can run the intervals back and forwards. I have been meaning to get to the pool, but I haven't managed it yet. I have swimming down on my training plan for tomorrow so I won't be able to make any excuses.

I've left buying my Christmas presents to the last moment so I'll be doing some extreme shopping tomorrow. That ought to be fun. :-)

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Short run and training plan

This morning my nephew Andrew rang me to ask where I was. I'd mentioned going running to Andrew, Laura and Michael but hadn't organised a time. While I was kindly giving them some time to wake up (Andrew and Laura are 13 and we all know how teenagers sleep) he was waiting for me at the usual time. I called the others but only Michael was up, so I'm running with them tomorrow instead.

Twenty minutes later I was in the car and on my way to pick up Andrew. The weather was awful - windy and rainy, but I figured there was still hope that it wouldn't be too bad over at Hoppers Crossing. Fortunately it was dry when I got there, so we headed off to President's Park. Andrew's two younger brothers want to join the running crew, so I'm looking for a venue where the parents can drop off their various children, the younger kids can play safely when they've had enough and we haven't, and where there are barbecue facilities so that we can cook breakfast when we're done. President's Park has it all. It may not be a pretty run but it's certainly convenient.

We wandered around checking out the facilities while my Garmin looked for satellites, and then we were off. It was windy, so we headed off into the wind. That took us under the road but the path didn't go in the right direction so we headed straight up along the grass. It looks like quite a lot of water must go along there when there's a flood, as there were signs on all the cross-paths saying to avoid crossing when the path was covered with water. We eventually ended back on a path. Andrew was testing out various ways of using me as a shield from the wind, which was amusing.

Because it was cold and rain was threatening, we did a short run of 3 km. The idea was to head out for around 10 minutes. We spotted an arbitrary turn around point and both made sure we touched the bench before we headed back. Running into the wind was hard work but it died down just before we reached the bench so we didn't get the full benefit on the way home. Isn't it always the way? It started to rain but we were warmed up by then so it really didn't matter.

We got back to the car in just under 23 minutes and we're doing our stretches in the rain when I looked over and saw some sheltered picnic tables. It made sense to relocate. Andrew wanted to know why I had to jog over to the tables. I pointed out to him that we were near the road and I had to make a good impression on the complete strangers who were driving past. It was lovely and warm in the car when we finally got in.

I'm glad Andrew rang me as it would have been quite tempting to put the run off until tomorrow.

Last night, when I was rain-delayed at the airport, I hit the internet and printed off some training programs. I already had a few calendars drawn up so that I could put together my training plan for the next few weeks. It's amazing how much stuff there is to do. I'm planning to do a modified intermediate 5 k program from Runner's World (no hills), along with some swimming and cycling for the triathlon. By the time I'd slotted it all in my calendar is pretty full over the next six weeks. I've scheduled in some social time as well! Otherwise I'd never see any of my friends.

All I have to do now is talk a few people into meeting up with me to do some of the sessions. It's much easier when you have company.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Good news from sports doc and PT

I had great news from the sports doc. First of all, there's no tear in my cartilege. Yay! Secondly, all I have to do about my knee cap is avoid overloading it. No surgery, no additional activity bans, no sign of the doctor saying I should stop running. Hooray!

It was interesting looking at the MRI scan results. The doctor explained the various things I was seeing, but he went pretty fast so I only paid attention to the high points like "see the cartilege is thinner there" and "see the inflammation there". I'll get them out again later and see if I can identify my artery and stuff like that. Apparently what I've got is wear and tear, slight osteoarthritis. The doctor didn't say whether or not it was normal and I didn't think to ask. I have all these questions now but I didn't think of them earlier when it would have been useful. Thank goodness for the internet.

The doctor did mention that I should keep losing weight, which was inevitable, but he did it in a really nice way. He said "keep losing" rather than "lose", acknowledging that I'd already lost a lot of weight.

I realised, while I was talking to him, that I was probably going to have to make some decisions about how much pain I was willing to put up with in order to achieve my various goals. I didn't discuss that with the doctor though. I didn't think he'd really appreciate that I was thinking about ways to keep up some of my present activities while he was busy advising against them.

This evening I had my PT session with Julia. I wandered down to the gym in time for a ten minute warm up on the treadmill. Because of the embargo on full squats etc we concentrated on upper body. I definitely improved with the chest press. Last week I managed 15/10 reps of 9 kg, with help from Julia on the last 3 of the first set. This week I managed 15/12, the first 15 on my own and with a little help on the last 2. The triceps pushbacks were fine, 2 sets of 15 with 4 kg. With the bent over row, I repeated the two sets of 15 with the 12.5 kg bar. In the middle I did a set of fitball squats down to 30 degrees. I didn't really think I'd feel it, even though I was holding the fifth squat each time, but I did once I'd done ten of them. Then it was stretching, which I really enjoy.

Em was talking about goals the other day, and I've been thinking about mine. The doctor mentioning losing weight and not running hills reminded me of these, so here they are, for what they are worth.

My main fitness and health goals are:
1. Enjoy and improve my running
2. Keep up the variety in my exercise program
3. Stay injury free (and overcome any limitations caused by my knee)
4. Lose weight and centimetres

I have a few specific running goals. I want to participate in and complete the following:
1. The triathlon in early February
2. As many as I can manage of the runs I did last year - the Women and Girls fun run in March, the Marathon Eve 10 k in April, the Mother's Day Classic in May and the Run to the G in June.
3. Run for Kids in Melbourne in April if it doesn't clash with the above (not sure if I'll do the shorter one with the kids or the longer one on my own)
4. The Canberra half marathon in May
5. City to Surf in August
6. Canberra Times fun run in September
7. The 10k or the half at the Melbourne Marathon in Nov (depends if I'm 'over' the half-marathon thing after doing one or not)

To help me with lose weight while working on my running I'm going to do the Runner's World 12 week challenge which ends with a run of at least 5k. I'm thinking that the W&G fun run is about the right time if I start in January.

My squash partner has sorted out his babysitting problems so I'll be aiming to play squash once a week. I'll also be doing the outdoor fitness challenges. If Fernwood do Biggest Loser again, I'll give that another go. I think I'm going to be busy next year. :-)


This morning I was up and dressed to ride to the Women's Triathlon Training Program running session. I was feeling really anxious about the ride, so I decided not to wear my new cycling shoes. I got myself out of the apartment and was on my way, but I was feeling stressed and unhappy about being too nervous to ride with cleats. I decided that going running was not the best use of my time. Instead I turned around and came back to practise clicking in and out. I thought about taking the bike outside, but I passed on that idea as I'm still quite nervous about it.

I know that there's nothing wrong with being nervous. What's bothering me is that much of this nervousness is the result of picking up other people's concerns. My mum doesn't like the idea of me falling off the bike, which is perfectly natural. I can cope with that. I've noticed that people fall into two categories (a) cyclists who use cleats who all assure me that I'll be fine and I'll be so happy that I made the switch and (b) everybody else who think I'm crazy. The clear divide is quite amusing. The people who use cleats know it can be done, so of course they are positive about it. The others are thinking of gravel rash so they aren't particularly keen.

Yesterday I saw one of my close friends for the first time since I decided to do this and was happily telling them that I was starting to ride with cleats. Their horrified reaction really bothered me. They were genuinely worried about me, in particular about the possibility that I would fall under a truck. I smiled and shrugged it off, but it's obviously been playing on my mind. Not the "fall under a truck" thing, the "overwhelming concern" thing. I'm not used to people worrying about me. I'm the sensible one who can look after herself, the responsible oldest child, the competent achiever. It's a strange experience to have people tell me that they think I'm making a mistake.

This morning I have been clicking in and out while watching Sunrise. I know I can do it. All I have to do is get the bike outside and do it there. I have the cycling session tomorrow morning but I don't know if I'm ready to get out there that soon. I'll have to see how I go tomorrow morning. I wish these decisions came with a reliable schedule so you knew when you'd get over the butterflies and get on with it.

Today I see the sports doctor and find out what's going on with my knee. I have my PT session with Julia this evening too. At least I'll be getting some exercise. I don't think clicking in and out really counts as a workout.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Yoga and thoughts about legs and stuff

Not much to report on the exercise front today. All I did was Yoga. We got an excellent strength work out and did quite a bit of abs work. I was a little constrained for some of it as I've been told not to do stuff like squats past 30 degrees. My bruised and scratched knees were complaining about the kneeling too but I'm glad I ignored them, particularly with one move that was an excellent hamstring stretch.

I have the MRI tomorrow morning and get the results on Thursday. I'm hanging out for the results as I don't like this being constricted. I don't much like the pain I've been feeling either, so I will have to put up with it for now I guess.

As I was walking home this evening I was thinking about my legs. Now I probably haven't mentioned it in my blog, but if I could ever be accused of vanity it would be because of my legs. I have great legs. Even when I was really overweight I had great legs. I inherited them from my Mum. Unfortunately I also inherited her leg cramps. *chuckle*

At the moment they aren't exactly looking their best. I've got bright red scratches from the small bits and pieces of sticks etc that were lying all over the park on Saturday. I think I've reacted to the pine sap. Anyway, whatever it is it looks awful. Add a few colourful bruises and skinned knees and they are definitely not up to their usual standard. Sigh.

I didn't mention this in my blog when it happened because I was a little embarrassed about it but I have told a couple of people so I figure the embarrassment factor is just about zero now. When I was running in the Jogalong with Kelly one time I ran ahead of her and got her to check out my calf muscles for me. I wanted to know if they looked good running. Kelly, being a good friend, knew exactly what to say. Funnily enough, a few weeks later someone running behind me at the outdoor fitness challenge remarked that my calves were looking good. I took the comment totally at face value and preened excessively. Mind you, they could have been set up to make the remark.

I remember vividly a post Kathryn made one time about someone in a sports store remarking on her muscular calves and how good it made her feel. I so relate to that feeling.

It must have been a long walk home (or my legs weren't able to hold my attention) but I was also thinking about doing the Runner's World 12 week challenge next year. I can't see any point in trying to do it over the Christmas period, but starting in the New Year after I've gained the obligatory Christmas indulgence weight seems like a good idea. I just have to pick a target race now.

I've got the mag wheel out, ready to set up my bike for practising clicking in and out. I just hope my butt muscles can cope with this. I'll worry about taking another layer of skin off my knees later. At least if I get all the falling off done now I won't have to worry about my legs being less than perfect after this lot heals.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Morning run and evening swim

This morning I had a PT session with Krissi. We had the 121 Personal Training Christmas function yesterday, which was a roaring success, and plenty of champagne was consumed. I wasn't all that sure how training would go. When I got there, Krissi suggested that we go for a run. I'd been saying yesterday that I hadn't been running well lately, so she thought running would be a good idea. I was happy enough to go along with that idea, so off we headed.

I hadn't bothered to wear my Garmin or my HRM as I'd been expecting to do strength work. It was quite different heading off without a watch. I like collecting all the stats, but it was pleasant to do a run without measuring it for a change. Instead of running along a path, we headed off across the park towards the bike path. It was a good way to warm up. It amazes me how constrained we all are by paths. I've noticed lately that I'm more inclined to walk 'cross-country' than I used to be. That's a direct result of the outdoor fitness sessions and all the running on grass that we do.

Once we got to the bike path we headed towards Dickson. Krissi had me setting the pace. My backside was hurting, which we ended up putting down to the cleats - all that clicking in and out. Every time I do something new I seem to discover a new set of muscles. My knee was fine though, which was a relief, as I have quite a nasty bruise from one of the falls on Saturday.

We chatted as we jogged along. It's great to be able to talk and run. Mind you, if Krissi hadn't been there I might have stopped to walk. We reached the turn around point and headed back. When we got close to Krissi's I went to turn off but Krissi kept me going around the block first. My legs were definitely in the "we can't run anymore" frame of mind, having decided that we were nearly home, but my mind was able to keep them moving. I'm going to have to remember that, and occasionally run past home instead of stopping as soon as I get there.

We ran for 40 minutes. At my usual pace that's somewhere between 5.5 and 6 km. I've no idea how far we went today, but the pace was comfortable without being too easy. When we got back, we headed into the studio and Krissi had me lie down on a mat. I was thinking "Great, stretches" but next thing I was doing abs exercises. I did two sets of 8 x 2 reps of lifting the fitball with my legs, and then 1 minute of the plank before we got to the stretching part. I love the stretching part.

I walked home, feeling really good about the run. I had plenty of time to shower and have breakfast before catching my bus so of course I missed my bus this morning. It's always the way!

There was only one problem with the run this morning and that was that I wasn't wearing my Enell. I ended up with chafing! I didn't notice it at the time thank goodness, but I was very aware of it after the run. Thank goodness I'd worn a racer back bra this morning. I have a plan when dealing with Krissi - you never know what she's going to throw at you - I make sure I have a good bra on. I'm starting to think that's not enough. I'm going to have to wear the Enell every time I go near her.

I had fun showing people my scratched and bruised knees at work today. They are looking quite spectacular and I'm finding a few more bruises. Of course, some of the people I work with think I'm crazy while others are really encouraging. The encouraging ones tend to be cyclists, who assure me that it will get easier with practice.

This evening we had the third triathlon swimming training session. Today we went over everything we learned, then concentrated on breathing every third stroke and gliding between strokes. When I was concentrating on gliding I forgot to roll from side to side and vice versa. Fiona, the coach, suggested I glide on my side and that solved the problem. My max HR was 133 and I burned 262 calories in 55 mins. I'm feeling quite tired now, so it's going to be an early to bed night for me today.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

I got back on seven times

I fell off my bike seven times today. This riding with cleats is going to take some getting used to. It wasn't as disastrous as it could have been, and at least I have the pedals on the bike now due to a brainwave from Krissi. She called me up today and invited me over to use her mag wheel. Having the bike stationary was an easy way to get used to clipping in and out.

An added benefit was that Brad and Krissi put my pedals on for me. After seeing Brad have to make an effort to get the old pedals off I was even more pleased I hadn't tried to do it for myself.

Once the bike was up on the mag wheel it was just a matter of practising. After a while I was feeling pretty confident, so Krissi encouraged me to try reaching my water bottle too. That was easier on a stationary bike as well. The only real problem was trying to get off the bike. With the seat so high I usually lean it over to get my leg across. Not so easy when you can't tilt the bike.

Krissi thoughtfully put a Les Mills dvd on for me so that I'd have spin music going while I was cycling. LOL.

Anyway, I could have stayed and practised longer, but I decided I was confident enough to ride home. I headed off, clipped in ok, decided to clip out well away from the corner and promptly fell into a bush. Score, Kathy 1 - Bush 0. Yep, it was all torn and crumpled while I just simply suffered a slight shock. Getting myself back up was a struggle though. At least my other foot clipped out when I fell.

Once I'd brushed myself off I realised that falling off hadn't hurt all that much. Krissi had told me that everybody falls off when they get cleats but I was hoping that I'd prove the exception. She'd also told me that it wouldn't hurt as much as I feared. She was right about that too.

I got back on the bike, and rode off towards home. I decided to practice clipping in and out on the way and promptly fell off again. It wasn't too bad on the dirt path, so I climbed back on and decided to do some more practice in the park on the grass. I figured it would hurt less than falling off on bitumen or concrete.

I managed to get clipped in and out a few times, but I soon realised that trying to stop with my left foot wasn't working for me. When I'd been with Krissi we'd decided to try that, but I must be a natural right foot stopper. I managed to do the whole braking and stopping thing a couple of times and then promptly fell off trying to stop with my right foot. Yes, I'm an equal opportunity klutz.

After getting confident with my right foot I tried the left foot again. I was doing fine, until I clicked back in with my left foot in the middle of stopping. That was a classic fall, with both feet in the pedals. I got a bit stressed and couldn't get my right foot out for a while, but I was fine once I relaxed. By this stage I was covered in chain oil, scrapes, dirt and pine needles. I dread to think what any passers by were thinking. I just kept falling off, getting back on and falling off again.

Eventually I decided that I'd had enough and headed on home. I walked the bike across the road, and then decided that I was going to have to get used to falling off on bitumen. I rode through the off-street parking section, practising my stopping, and I managed to get the whole way without falling off. A car came in and parked, which had me a little stressed for a while, but they considerately slowed right down as they passed me. Maybe I looked terrified.

I walked across the next street too. In fact, I decided that I'd had enough of being brave and I was going to walk the rest of the way home, but I got myself back up on the bike again and practised clipping in and out and stopping two more times. Then I really did think that I had used up all my bravery and walked the rest of the way home.

After a shower I feel much better. I realised that I don't have any Dettol in the house for my scraped knees and elbows (only a bit scratchy, no real bleeding) so I'm going to have to buy myself a little first aid kit for the bike. I think I'll try to find smiley bandaids too. If I'm miles from home I want a giggle at least if there's any blood.

I am so grateful to Krissi that she had the mag wheel idea. If I'd tried to do this by myself I think I would have given up at the first fall because I wouldn't have trusted that I'd ever be able to clip in and out. At least I'd done it over and over before I did actually fall.

I've got two bike rides tomorrow. I'll see how stressed I am about using the cleats in the morning, as I could maybe use a bus option for the first ride. The second one is with Krissi and Kelly so I'm sure I'll be able to do that one.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I have a real fear of falling. I'm slowly getting more confident as my balance has improved with my core strength, however I have really lacked confidence on the bike because I was sure I'd break something when I fell. It's a relief to have fallen off and survived. Mind you, I was feeling a bit of a disaster area with all the falls, but then I realised that I'd gotten myself back on the bike seven times. Even if it's me who says so, that's pretty damn good. I'm really proud of me. :-)

Friday, 14 December 2007

Cycling lesson

This morning was the second cycling session. I was on a really tight schedule this morning as I had an early work meeting. While I had to make it back home and shower, the real challenge was making sure I had time for breakfast. I realised I'd never fit it in if I did the whole session. I'd have to leave early, which meant I'd be missing out on some valuable information. Breakfast won!

It was a fantastic morning in Canberra. It's really lovely around the lake and the surrounds of Old Parliament House are beautifully kept. I arrived at the session with plenty of time to spare and had time for a chat with Kelly and Krissi before we started. I then headed off with white group.

We started off practising our cornering again. It's easy to do it in the carpark. I got the whole idea today. I left my inside leg up and looked where I was going and the bike just curved its way around the corner.

We had to ride in pairs in a sort of bunch down to the lake. My partner was having trouble with her bike but we soon had it together, except for the part where the people behind us were yelling "car" and I braked and she didn't. Our three instructors must have found the sight of us trying to be a bunch quite amusing. They were really encouraging though.

When we got to the lake we rode along with one hand off the handle bars and behind our backs and then back again with the other hand off the handle bars. Then we were supposed to ride along with one hand on our partner's shoulder. I had real trouble with this. My partner did an excellent job. After that we were asked was anyone really nervous so I put up my hand and admitted it.

There were two of us, and we were pulled aside while the others went on to some more stuff. The other lady had an enormous bike. The instructor helping us thinks her bike is way too big and that mine might be too big. I had to get the seat adjusted again. It looks like my seat came down by itself a few weeks ago because it wasn't tight enough. Anyway, that should be fixed now. My seat is up so high now that I can barely touch the ground when I'm seated.

We did a bit more riding with one hand off the bike and then touching the water bottle. I got more confident about bending forward to touch the bottle. I'll have to practise this riding one handed stuff. I'm finding it much easier to signal turns now though, which has got to be good.

I had to bale then, so I headed off home. I managed to have a healthy breakfast and was ready in plenty of time for my lift. See, you can fit everything in if you're organised!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Fitness assessment, sports doc and personal training

Today was the last session of the Outdoor Group Fitness Challenge. It always starts and ends with the fitness assessment. I missed the first session because I was sick and I was seriously thinking about missing this one and going to the triathlon training program running session instead. I really love the whole challenge, so I was lying in bed trying to work out what it was that I was dreading today. I figured out that it was the beep test and the 1 km time trial. The last few times I've done these I've ended up throwing up. Evidently that hasn't killed me so I figured it wasn't a good enough reason not to go. I was also bothered about the fact that I've been running slowly lately. I remembered that my running goals don't include running faster, so I managed to relax enough to get over the whole time trial anxiety.

When I was cycling to the challenge it was struggling to rain. Of course I'd left my rain jacket at home. Fortunately it never got past a light sprinkle. I practised some of the stuff I learned on Friday, like looking where I was going on the curves instead of at the ground. It's amazing how the bike goes in the right direction when you do that. I'm riding much faster so I have plenty of time now when I arrive at Lennox Gardens. It's good to have those few extra minutes up my sleeve.

We started off with a warmup. Brad makes them different every time even though we do the same things, which I think is a pretty impressive thing to be able to do. After that we had the beep test. I ended up baling out at 3-4, which was disappointing. I just wasn't running fast enough to stay with the beeps. At least I was in no danger of throwing up though.

We then did the pushup test. Last challenge I managed 34 on my toes in one minute. Today I did 42 on my toes. Yay me! Mind you, some of them were pretty shallow pushups. Still, I did them. After the disastrous beep test I was determined to work hard on the agility test. I didn't get my time for it, but it felt really good. I'm looking forward to getting the results on that one.

Then it was the 1 km time trial. I wasn't quite sure why I'd been so worried. I knew my PB was 5:41 and I was hoping to get somewhere close to that. I set off running quite well but my pace ended up being all over the place. I managed to finish in 5:53. I would have liked to be closer to my PB but it was still better than the 6:20 it took me to run the first km in the Parliament House relay.

We were awarded certificates and had our photos taken. I forgot to wash my orange top after the relay and so I was wearing the wrong top. I'll have to be more organised next time. Either that or I need two t-shirts. By the time we were finished it was getting close to 7:45. I had to get home, showered and to the bus stop by 8:40. I wouldn't have been able to make it a few months ago, but I knew I could cycle home in about 20 minutes. I made it to the bus with time to spare. :-)

After a meeting at work I headed off to the sports doctor. I've been trying to work out how to explain what was wrong with my knee. Anyway, it all seemed to make sense to him. He asked me a stack of questions, then looked at my knees while I was standing, got me to do some squats, then one-legged squats (yep, I could do them), watched me walk, then pressed a few places on my knees. Now, I've been pressing my knees to see if I could find a spot sore to touch and I haven't been able to find one. He managed to find two in no time. Ouch! I guess he has an advantage though, with all those years of looking at knees.

He then got a model of a knee out and showed me what he thought was wrong. I have to have an MRI next week to check it out in detail, but apparently I have two things wrong - a worn knee cap and a potentially torn cartilege. I'd been hoping that I just had a bit of knee strain and an overactive imagination. I was really concerned that he was going to tell me to stop running. In fact, I started the whole conversation with "I'm here so that I can keep running cause I lost lots of weight and I don't want to put it back on". I used more words of course.

To my utter delight I can keep running as long as I listen to my knee. And swimming. And cycling. I have to stop doing leg extensions and I can only do squats, lunges, leg presses etc to 30 degrees. I'm not supposed to do breaststroke. I am supposed to avoid hill running. I'd worked that one out for myself. You might have noticed that I haven't been running to and from work. My knee was always really tired after I ran the hills so I stopped. I just didn't talk about it because I was feeling guilty about it.

We didn't discuss treatment options today, but I'm seeing the doctor next Thursday so I'll find out what can be done then. In the meantime, I can keep running and I can keep doing the triathlon training. I'm really pleased with the outcome.

This evening I had my personal training session with Julia. I explained what the doctor said so we skipped the squats today. As an aside, my knee never hurt doing squats, so it seems strange to me that I have to cut back on them.

We did chest presses, 9 kg, and triceps pushbacks, 4 kg. I've only just moved up to the 9 kg weight. I managed 15 presses in the first set, with help from Julia on the last three, and 10 in the second. The triceps pushbacks were easy. We then did 2 sets of 15 reps of the bent over row. I was trying to imagine my hips as a hinge to get the form right. It seemed to help.

We then did some abs exercises. I was lying on my back and had to lift a medicine ball from the ground over my head and sit up then roll back down. The weight of the medicine ball helped with the sit up. After that I did that one where you sit and move the ball from side to side. We were out of time then, and so finished with stretching. The session just flew.

Tomorrow I've got the cycling training session in the morning and then a lawn bowls and bbq Christmas party.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Relay photos

121 Fitness Freaks

121 Outdoor Warriors

Me about to hand over to Nicole

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Outdoor fitness challenge and Parliament House relay

This morning it was chilly when I headed off to the fitness challenge. Fortunately I was wearing a jacket although I was wishing I'd worn two. I tried to remember some of the things I'd learned at Friday's cycling lesson. It certainly felt easier riding with my toes on the pedals instead of the middle of my foot.

Our session this morning was a circuit. The various stations were labelled with activities such as military presses, side crunches, shuttle run, pushups, bicep curls, lunges, squats, crunches and dips. After our warm up run we got a demo of all the activities and then we were in to it. I was partnered up with Clare, which was a hoot. She's excellent company. We were getting the whole "boot camp" treatment from Krissi for a while there. For some reason we seemed to synchronise our "breaks" with Krissi or Brad paying us attention. For example, what were the chances that when we both worked out our necks were sore doing side crunches and we stopped to discuss it that one of the trainers would be on their way over to see how we were going? Also, it seemed perfectly reasonable to us to do a slow shuttle run and chat on the way. Unfortunately Krissi didn't seem to think we were getting value for money.

After a few stations we worked out that if we got started quickly and had the form right straight away we'd get left alone. Then, to my amusement, Clare turned into a mini-me version of Krissi, hustling the people in front of us off to their next station and then stirring them up when they slowed down on the triceps dips. It was hilarious.

I really struggled with a couple of exercises. My arms were like spaghetti. I'm putting it down to last night's swimming. I was running out of energy really quickly. I didn't even attempt to do real pushups and my dips were terrible. I liked Krissi's attitude though. She told me that as long as I was doing 100% with what I had left in my arms then that was fine. I hadn't thought of it like that.

We did the circuit a couple of times (shorter the second time around) and then finished off split into two teams. The other team had to do the shuttle run while my team did 300 dips. Fortunately, we were able to do them as a relay, so we ended up with 50 dips each. We did them in sets of 10. It's amazing how motivating it is to have the other five people counting the set for you.

During the cool down people were complaining that everything hurt. Jess said even her eyelashes were sore. After the normal stretches, Brad did a special eyebrow stretch for Jess. It might be one of those things that you have to be there for, but it was hilarious seeing him stretch one eyebrow and then the other.

On my ride home I had an unpleasant pedestrian experience. I was on the footpath and a large gentleman (tall and broad) came around the corner. Instead of walking around me, he stayed really close to my side of the path and then, as he passed me, he swung his arm into my handlebars. I ended up having to step off the bike as it came to a complete halt. I don't understand why people have to do things like that. He must be carrying a lot of anger to have footpath rage at 7:45 am in the morning.

This evening I was running in the Parliament House relay. 1-2-1 Personal Training had two teams entered. There were eight runners on each team. One of our girls on my team pulled out with late notice so one of the people on the faster team volunteered to run for us as well. Not only that, but Michael came and ran the last 500m with a number of us as well, which was really encouraging.

I was the fifth runner. I'd thought beforehand that I'd probaly get around in 11 or 12 minutes. It took me 11:30, so I was pretty much on track. I did the first km in 6:20 and I was on about 6:40 pace for the second according to my Garmin. The course was a little longer than a mile. I measured it at 1.77 km.

Kellie managed to talk Sharon from her workplace bootcamp sessions into doing the relay, telling them that she would run their lap with them. I volunteered to split the lap with Kellie, so I met up with them part of the way around and then ran the rest with Sharon. I was really looking forward to the second run, even though I struggled through the first one. I am still amazed at times by the difference in my attitude to exercise. It's gone from a burden into something that's fun even when it's hard.

I don't know how many teams were entered but there were people everywhere. The faster runners were doing the circuit in about 6 minutes. When Sharon and I were running the last 500 m we were passed by a group of guys who were picking up the cones that marked the course. Michael still had to run a lap after the course was packed away.

One of the course officials suggested that the team ran back to meet Michael and run the last part of the course with him. He ended up with a pack of runners coming in with him. I don't know how much we were behind the other teams, but we were well and truly last. It didn't matter as we'd been out there and we'd done it!

Lola made it along after her chemo session yesterday. It was great to see her. She was in excellent form and was taking photos for us. There were a couple of cameras so I'm sure there will be photos up on facebook soon.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Swimming session

This evening Kelly and I headed off to our second session of swim training for the triathlon. I was quite organised today, remembering to bring everything except I needed except for a comb. We were given yellow caps last week. I don't remember wearing a swimming cap before. It felt really odd, but I quickly got used to it.

We gathered for the initial briefing, where we were asked what the three key things we learned last week were. I had no idea! They were stay balanced in the water, swim from side to side not flat on our stomachs, and stay long.

There were only four people in my group today. We started off with a 5 minute warm up where we were allowed to swim anything but freestyle. I quite enjoyed this. Breaststroke is my favourite swimming stroke. We then went over the lessons from last week. I swallowed some water and ended up having to stop to cough! I wasn't the only one.

Once we'd done that we added in an extra stroke to the roll over. It was kind of like swimming freestyle, except that we were pausing in between strokes while we got our breath back. We then tried stringing a few roll overs together. Eventually we were swimming up and down the pool. It was amazing. It was so much easier than the freestyle I was doing the other day. Instead of being face down in the water we were rolling from side to side and our legs were kicking on an angle rather than up and down. We were breathing steadily out through our mouths and noses between breaths. Apparenly that keeps swimming aerobic instead of anaerobic. I was really surprised by how much easier it was to swim like that.

After that we did an exercise where we swam half way down the pool with our hands as fists. That was to teach us to use our forearms to propel us through the water instead of just our arms. I was amazed again. In fact, the word for today is "amazing". We then worked on lifting our elbows high out of the water. I'm making the description of the action sound simpler than it is, but it's kind of hard to describe it without a picture. I really did notice a difference when I was swimming when I lifted my elbows and used my whole arm instead of just my hand.

I was surprised to find myself swimming faster than the others. I automatically expect to be slower than everyone else so I wait for the others to start before me, but I kept catching them up and having to wait for them to get ahead again. Eventually I started swimming off first.

My cardio fitness soon showed, as the others were getting tired and swimming fewer laps. I just kept on going - it seemed easier than running 10 km. :-) By the end of the session I was the only one in the group still swimming. Even the instructor had wandered off.

I was wearing my HRM again. I definitely had a better calorie burn happening tonight - 344 calories in 65 mins, max HR 147. I've no idea how far I swam tonight. I know I did at least 30 laps of 25 metres. We have to cover 400m in the triathlon, so I know I can make it. All I have to do now is practise! Oh, and learn more about swimming efficiently. If I can see this much improvement in two lessons what will I be like after six? Woohoo!

Mind you, I felt last week's swimming sessions for days, so I figure I'll be feeling this one as well. I did get a few cramps in my calves while I was swimming. I managed to relax enough to be able to ignore them, but they were a nuisance. I haven't got the habit of taking the magnesium tablets every day. I'll have to make more of an effort to remember.

On the bike front, I've totally wimped out on changing my pedals over. I'll have to psyche myself up to it.

Tomorrow I have the outdoor group fitness challenge in the morning and then I'm running in the Parliament House Relay in the evening with a team of people from 1-2-1 Personal training. We each have to run 1.6 km. It should be fun. We'll be running near Questacon, so it will be pretty too.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Cycling lesson, new shoes and morning run

Andrew was asking about the tri cycling lesson I had on Friday, so here are the details.

I learned heaps! One of the first things I learned was that the car park behind Old Parliament House is hidden by hedges. I rode around the building, looking for a group of women cyclists in the West car park. No luck, so I ended up phoning Krissi to find out where I was supposed to be. "We're around the back, you can't miss us." Obviously I could! I headed back to the back, hoping it was the back. It looked like the back. Still no women. I listened out for them, sure that I'd hear 60 women. Nope. Finally I sensed a movement and saw some people through a hedge - thank goodness for fluorescent lycra.

Now, I was completely dressed the part myself - red Netti cycling top, black Netti shorts. The only problem was that I completely looked like a novice - bike seat too low, feet in the wrong position. I had tried to raise my bike seat before I left home, but the various bits and pieces defeated me. *blush on* That's the second thing I learned - it's easy to raise your bike seat. No special tool required. *blush off*

We were divided into groups. I opted for the easiest group based on the "do you lack confidence on your bike" questions they were asking to grade us, but when they saw how many people were in it they provided some additional criteria. As I've ridden to work a few times I fitted in the next group. We ended up with 10 riders and 3 coaches. I was impressed how many women had come out to help us - there were 3 coaches for each of 5 groups. That's real commitment from the women of FIT, especially as they are all volunteers.

We were sent off to ride around the car park a few times while the coaches watched us. It wasn't long before I was pulled aside so that my seat could be adjusted. It is so much higher than I expected but it's definitely easier to ride that way. Later on I was told to change the position of my feet on the pedals. I had them firmly planted with the pedals in the middle but apparently I should be using the front part of my foot instead.

We were then shown how to corner. Now, this might seem obvious, but I didn't know I should raise the knee of the leg on the side I was turning to. I prefer turning to the right and I think I must instinctively do it on that side, but I don't on the left. Something new to concentrate on. We were also told to look towards where we were going while cornering. We did that a few times and then we worked on braking.

We were told about braking with both hands and shown how to feather. I have been doing this so I was feeling confident. We were told to ride towards some cones and brake when we got to them. I kept braking well ahead of time. We were also shown that we should be smoothly putting down one foot when coming to a halt. I did this great brake action and was being congratulated by one of the coaches, when I jumped off with both feet. Chuckle. After an "Oh dear, better luck next time" remark I received heaps of encouragement when I did get it right. We practised that going uphill and downhill.

The next thing we tried was riding between cones. It was a matter of controlling speed and braking. We were supposed to look forward, not down at the ground. I struggled with this going downhill, skittling a few cones and missing others entirely. It was much easier going uphill. Less braking required.

After that we rode around the car park with one hand on the handlebars, then swapped hands. We then rode in pairs and I learned that you're supposed to keep your wheels level as you ride. We then had the one hand thing happening with the pair riding. By the time we were finished I was feeling so much more confident on the bike. It was a great session. Also, it seemed much easier riding home - the higher seat and new foot position made a huge difference.

On Saturday, I met up with Kellie and Krissi, as Kellie was buying a bike. The bike she borrowed on Friday was all wrong for her, so this was an urgent shopping expedition. It was a lot of fun, although I had to resist the urge to buy accessories. While we were in one of the shops we had a look at the triathlon wear. I also saw a pair of cycling shorts that were $180. For that, they'd want to be able to ride the bike for me!

It was interesting being in the shop with people who knew about bikes. Michael, Kellie's partner, has done tris in the past, and Krissi and Brad are keen cyclists. They'd all look at the componentry with keen interest while I checked out the paint job. Kellie took a few bikes on test rides and settled on a Giant road bike. I learned how to take off the front wheel of my bike (not that I've tried it yet) and discovered that they have the cutest kids bikes in the stores - complete with streamers and baskets with flowers.

While we were in the second shop, which is the one where I bought my bike, I ended up buying myself bike shoes. Yes, I'm going to try the whole cleats thing. I can't believe that I've done this to myself. I'm quite worried about falling off. Krissi tells me that everyone pancakes. Another thing I've learned. I'm trying to work out how falling off the bike because you can't get your foot out of the pedal looks like a pancake but I'm not having much success with that. I guess you go over sideways so it must look fairly straight. I haven't managed to put the pedals on the bike yet. Something for this afternoon if I work up the courage.

This morning I was out for a run around the lake with Lola. I'm sure I mentioned before that one of my running friends had been diagnosed with breast cancer. That's Lola. She's recovered from surgery and will be starting chemo this week. We took it easy around the lake, then went off for a coffee and chat. Including the walk to the coffee shop and back to the car we covered about 7 km. Not a bad effort for a Sunday. Mind you, I started off suffering. Champagne the night before is clearly not a good preparation for a run. I guess at this time of year it's going to keep happening though, so I'd better get used to it.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Fitness awards

We had a great night. Krissi was a finalist in the ACT Fitness Industry's Fitness Professional of the Year award. Gavin won. He must be absolutely fabulous because Krissi would be an extremely tough act to beat.

As I may have mentioned, we got ourselves all dressed up for the awards. Here's a photo of "the" dress.

I really enjoyed myself. Krissi, Brad and Jess are terrific company.

Jess's hair was done by Ash-Lea. Doesn't it look great? Ok, we were all a bit snap happy at this stage. There wasn't going to be a photo that we weren't in.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Cycling lesson

A really quick post before I go out to the ACT Fitness Industry Awards tonight. We nominated Krissi in the Fitness Professional of the Year category, and she's a finalist!

This morning I had the first cycling session for the triathlon training and it was fantastic. I enjoyed myself so much and learned heaps. If only I'd had this lesson months ago when I started riding my bike.

Have to dash. Sam is arriving in half an hour to do my makeup. Will post a photo of "the dress" tomorrow and let you know whether or not Krissi won. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Hill running and personal training

Today's Outdoor Group Fitness Challenge session took us to Parliament House again. We headed off on our warm up, not quite sure what was in store for us. Once we crossed over the road though, those of us who had done the challenge before knew exactly what we were in for.

Along the way we did a few exercises - squats, lunges and pushups. We came to the first hill. I really struggled up this the last time, but I was able to run it this time. I took it steadily. We were told to do the first part of the hill at 80% and the last part as fast as we could. I just made sure I could get up the hill. I tried to increase my pace for the second part, but it didn't feel any faster.

We then jogged around to the hill on top of Parliament House. From our vantage point we could see straight down Commonwealth Avenue to the city centre. It looked pretty impressive. At one stage I waved at Canberra, but I don't think anyone waved back.

We ran up the hill to the third path three and a half times. When I first did this I had to keep stopping to walk. I remember Krissi helping me run some of the way by pushing me up the hill. This time I could have kept going. Not far, but I definitely could have gone a little further. The last run, which was shorter, we were supposed to go hard for, and I was able to. It's a great feeling. I remember how proud I was of my achievements the first time I did this. I was so glad we were back here doing it again as it was a real measure of progress for me.

We jogged and walked back to Lennox Gardens and then I cruised back home on my bike. Today's ride was tough although it took me a while to work out why. My seat seems to be lower than usual. I don't know how it happened, but I'm going to have to adjust it before I head out again. I didn't have the allen key to move it today. I'll have to make sure I have one with me when I'm riding in future.

My left knee was quite tired today and a little sore. I don't know if it was the hill or the bike ride, but I had to make a real effort not to favour it. I've got an appointment with a sports doc next week to establish whether there is anything that I actually need to worry about or if this is just something that's a nuisance but isn't serious. Of course, I haven't iced it. I haven't managed to get myself organised enough to buy an ice pack or an elastic bandage to hold it in place.

As I'm writing this I'm thinking, I'm a dill - frozen vegies and a teatowel are the go. Okay, carrots are in place. I don't much like carrots so if they end up defrosted I won't be heartbroken.

This evening I had PT with Julia. I was there a bit earlier than I have been lately so I had a little more time for a warmup. I got on the treadmill, thinking about running but telling myself that I should walk if my leg hurt. It was a little tender when I started but that feeling quickly disappeared. I walked for 5 minutes, then decided that 10 minutes of slow running would be ok. After 10 minutes I dropped back to a walk. The running was really easy, apart from the fact that I had to keep dragging my bra strap up. Yes, I hadn't planned to run so I was in an ordinary sports bra instead of being strapped in as tightly as possible.

Julia came and collected me. We started off with squats. I told her about my tired knee, just in case, and promised to let her know if it was hurting. Just like last week, I was holding the fifth squat. I always count while I'm down there. Last week Julia was letting me back up at around the 15 mark. We were chatting away and I was down for about 25 and starting to wonder if I'd be able to stand up when Julia finally released me. Well, on the next two sets I only got to 8 before Julia let me stand up. My legs were shaking. On the last set I got as far as 3 before my trembling legs got me released. If only I could do it to order.

Next I was doing chest presses. I did the first set of 12 with the 8 kg weights, and then foolishly mentioned that I was handling that weight easily. I've got to make sure I don't think aloud when I'm near my personal trainer. The second set was with 9 kg weights and I only managed 9 with some help from Julia. We moved on to triceps pullbacks. (I am never sure of the name of the exercise, but at least I know exactly what I mean.) I was doing these with 4 kg and chatting to Julia and we passed the 12 mark. At around the 20 mark I asked if we were going to keep going until I stopped, and finally Julia told me to do 5 more or we'd be there all night. I swapped sides and didn't bother counting. When I'd had enough I stopped.

We moved on to dead lifts, although Julia called them something else so maybe I wasn't doing dead lifts last week. I did about 20 of these. After that Julia added in some shoulder presses using the 7kg weights because we were ahead of schedule. I ended up splitting the set by stopping after 8 and then trying to do 4 more. I only got through 3 before I couldn't lift them anymore. Now that Krissi has taught me what the point of failure feels like I'm not so scared to go there.

We did the killer butt exercises again, and then I got stretched. It's so nice having someone else do the work.

Tomorrow morning I have the cycling session for the triathlon training instead of PT with Krissi. That should be fun.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Interval running, serious shopping and yoga

I was heading off to the outdoor fitness challenge on my trusty bicycle when I realised that I don't count the bike component of my morning as exercise any more. When did that happen? Ok, so it's just a shade under 4 km from my place to Lennox Gardens, but surely it's still exercise?

This morning's session was good old interval training. I like this particular session, although I was wondering why when I was throwing up after the second lap. The good thing about the session is that it gets easier. We start off in pairs, one running and the other walking. You have to run more than a lap before doing the active recovery session. We then form groups of three, running a little more than half a lap, and then groups of four, running just over a third of a lap. No wonder it feels easier.

We did a warmup jog around the oval while Brad explained how the running worked to the group. We then lined up and did a series of runs across the oval. We started off with pyramid runs, speeding up to 70% then slowing down, 80%, etc. We also did the old knees high, bum kicks and sideways steps. The grass was long and wet so our feet were soon soaking. Would you believe I have two pairs of running shoes and they are both soaked? The other pair is still wet from Elton John the other night. I was wishing I was JayKay for a while there, with a hundred spare pairs in the cupboard.

I got a bit carried away on the first lot of intervals. The whole idea is to go harder for the running because you have the walking to recover. Well, when the runners headed off they were all in front of me, which is pretty much what I'm used to, but I managed to pass a few of them on the way around. I think it went to my head, as it's not normal for me. I ended up having to slow down a little on the first lap before I got to my walking partner. I headed off quickly again for the second lap and managed to keep running the whole way around. After Sal took off I went to get a drink of water but ended up throwing up instead. I decided drinking didn't seem like such a good idea then. On the third lap I took it much more steadily. We were running in pairs for a short 15 mins (Brad was feeling kind) then we swapped to threes. That was a lot easier.

One of the new girls was with us. She didn't understand the "walk" part of the instructions and was trying to save the runner from running too far. That was me and I was feeling cheated because my leg was shorter than I'd expected. On my next time around she told me off because I hadn't done the same for my runner. I was feeling indignant about her tone of voice but I got over it. Fortunately, she didn't tell me what I should be doing the next time and I ended up watching with amusement as her running leg kept getting longer and longer. I did think about trying to explain how it worked to her when we changed, but in the end I didn't. Yep, I was indulging my mean streak. It doesn't get out much, so it was a little novel.

Krissi came and ran a leg with me, and kindly told me how much my running style had improved. It's great to hear it. I feel better when I run but it's good to know it shows. Later Brad ran one with me and told me the same thing. :-)

After we finished the intervals we did three starts. I tell you, it takes a lot of effort to get me from zero to moving. Thank goodness we only did three of them. Riding home, my poor legs were complaining most of the way. My knee has been tired all day. Fortunately I found the perfect fix for it: shopping!

We nominated Krissi for an award and we're going to the presentation on Friday night. I decided to call my style consultant to get some help with my shopping. I took the afternoon off and met her at 2 pm at the Canberra Centre. In the time it would take me to run 10 km we had bought a dress, a wrap, shoes, handbag, jewellery, and underwear. What a whirlwind Sam is.

We could have bought the very first dress I tried on. I am so glad I called Sam as (a) I would never have even looked at the dresses I tried on if I'd been by myself and (b) it was great to be trying on clothes and colours that suited me. The whole experience was confidence building. Once I'd tried on "the" dress then there was no point trying on anything else. We did go to one more shop but the decision had made itself for us by then. If I'd been on my own I would have had to see the first dress again, but Sam gave me her honest opinion as to which dress suited me better, so I went with it.

I've ended up with a black halterneck dress. It's kind of a Marilyn Monroe look. Funnily enough, Sam was telling me that she thought that we were looking for a Marilyn Monroe dress and when we tried "the" dress on, the shop manager told us that she called that dress the Marilyn Monroe dress. We smiled and I think she thought we were laughing at her until we explained that we'd been looking for a Marilyn dress.

I bought a black wrap with silver through it, so I ended up with silver shoes and bag. I've also got some bling - sparkly earrings and bracelet. No necklace as the neckline of the dress doesn't need any attention drawn away from it. There was a minor panic when I went to buy a bra as the lady helping us wasn't sure she had one to fit me in the right colour. Fortunately, she found one that was perfect with the dress. She worked really hard to help us. It's great getting good service like that.

The whole shopping expedition took 1 hour and 10 minutes. I could have fitted it into a long lunch instead of taking the afternoon off! Anyway, I was on my way home when I decided a pedicure would go well with my new shoes. How relaxing to sit there, having a back massage and a spa pedicure instead of slaving away at work.

This evening I went to yoga. I really needed the stretching. It was a fairly dynamic session. I struggled with some of the moves but my flexibility has clearly improved out of sight.

I'm definitely going to sleep well tonight.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Swimming - step one on the road to the triathlon

Well, I didn't drown. That's got to be a good start, hasn't it?

I was looking forward to going swimming tonight and scared at the same time. I definitely had butterflies. Thank goodness I've been telling people that I'm doing this as it means I'm committed. Otherwise I might just have given in to those pesky creatured flying around in my tummy.

Kellie picked me up at my place. I left work way too early, just in case, and we arrived too early too. Kellie and I are alike in that we like to give ourselves plenty of time the first time we do something. We'll be a lot more relaxed next Monday.

There were only a handful of people there when we arrived. I was expecting a group of maybe ten or twelve people, but they kept arriving. And arriving. And arriving. FIT had booked the pool for the hour. It was easy to understand why they'd felt the need once I saw how many women showed up. All ages, all sizes, all levels of fitness. It was great to see. It was even better to be part of it.

The pool was 25 metres long and there were six lanes. They put the good swimmers in lane 6 and basically seeded us according to how far we though we could swim. I put myself in lane 2, that is, able to swim but not for long. There weren't many people in lane 1 so they asked us if we thought we'd struggle to swim 200 m to go over to lane 1. I quickly moved across.

We were advised to swim freestyle down the pool and run back. I was amazed to discover I could swim 25 metres without stopping. I was glad of the run (bounce) back down the pool though as I was quite puffed. I did that three times, then tried swimming both laps. We did that a few times. After setting the beginning swimmers to work in another pool, our lane coach came and watched us swim. She sent a few of the others over to different lanes. Then we got taken back to basics. They are going to teach us to swim efficiently, so we still have energy left for cycling and running.

First of all we floated on our back, then put one arm out behind us, rotated a little so our other arm was sort of out of the water, kicked our legs sideways and moved up the pool. We swapped arms and went back the other way. Then we added putting our faces in the water and breathing. Then we did a kind of roll over thing while we breathed and then we combined it with changing arms over. I quite enjoyed myself. It was disappointing to realise that the time was up.

I wore my HRM and burned just over 220 calories in 50 mins. My max heart rate was 136. It will be interesting to see how many calories I burn as I do more swimming. Kellie was in the lane 2 group and enjoyed herself too. It was good travelling there and back with her, as it gave us a chance to talk about our impressions and how we're looking forward to the actual triathlon, even though we're both surprised we signed up to do this.

I'm going to have to get myself to the pool during the week to practise my swimming. It's fitting it in that's going to be the problem!

Edit: If you haven't read it yet, have a look at Warrior Woman's latest blog entry. Wow! What fun!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Personal Training and singing in the rain

I didn't update my blog last night for a very good reason. I was at the Elton John concert. My friend, Alex, rang me yesterday afternoon to offer me a free ticket to the concert. Not only that, but the seats she had were terrific. How lucky was that! There was one minor hiccup. It was an outdoor venue. Naturally the heavens chose last night to open on drought-stricken Canberra and it poured all through the concert. The rain didn't matter though as we really enjoyed ourselves. Elton was fantastic.

Back on topic, I had my weekly PT session with Krissi yesterday morning. I was running late so I jogged over to her place. It's such a good feeling to be able to just walk out the door and start running. The five minute jog was a good warmup for the session too.

We started out with 10 minutes on the dreaded bicycle. (Shhh. Krissi reads my blog so I'm going to start pretending I love the bike on the basis that personal trainers are guaranteed to stop giving you exercises you enjoy as soon as they realise you're having fun.) We were chatting about the triathlon training program during the warmup. Krissi is one of the volunteer cycle coaches, so she was able to tell me a little about what to expect at the training. I'm really looking forward to it. The first swim session is on Monday.

For the first time I did squats with a barbell. I've done them on the Smith machine before but it's quite different when you have to balance the bar yourself. I did the first set of 15 without the bar, but holding my hands up as though it was there, while Krissi checked my form. Then I did two sets with 10 kg on the bar and a third set with 15 kg. That's a total of 60 squats!

Interestingly, my left knee was tracking perfectly on the squats and my right knee wasn't. I think I've been focussing so much on my weaker leg that I've forgotten to think about the stronger one. At least I know that now.

Some of the other exercises that I did were triceps pulldowns and biceps curls. Oh, I did the hamstring curls as well. These are getting easier to do. Krissi gave me a good butt exercise to do. It involved lying against the wall to keep my body lined up. I could really feel it. In fact I can still feel the effects in a "I know I worked hard but it's not actually painful" kind of way.

I didn't run home from training. I didn't have the energy. :-)

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Bike ride, Fitness challenge and personal training

When I first started riding over the bridge on Commonwealth Avenue I used to worry about the traffic. I would reassure myself that I never saw cars coming through the barrier and hitting pedestrians, trying to convince myself I was perfectly safe on my bike. As my confidence has grown I've become much more relaxed about the whole thing. This morning I was reminded of that old concern. As I rode up the hill to the bridge I came across the debris from a car accident. A whole section of stone wall and railing was lying across the path. If anyone had been walking or riding past at the time they would have been injured.

I had to get off the bike to get past the rubble. On the way home I saw that someone had moved bits and pieces of wall to one side of the path. It never occurred to me to do that, but at least I'll think of it next time I come across an obstacle like this one.

Apart from navigating my way past the accident I managed to stay seated for all the hills again. Also, I'm finding my legs are coping a lot better on the way home than they used to. Mind you, having the Garmin is interesting. It takes me a minute longer per km on the way home than it does on the way to the challenge. Now, if only I could rememember to turn it on!

This morning's fitness challenge session was pretty good fun. We started off with a different way to do our warm up activities. It was all the usual stuff - lifting our knees, kicking our butts, side steps etc. We did the exercise between a set of cones, then jogged back to the start, where we did more static exercises like half squats.

After that, we were in Indian file in two lines. The back markers had a medicine ball. When the whistle blew, they handed the ball to the pair in front then ran quickly up to the front of the line. When a different whistle sounded, we had to find Krissi. The first person to reach her got to choose an activity card, with activities such as walking lunges, 2 mins of squats, 2 mins of zigzag medicine ball passes, 2 mins of shadow boxing, 2 mins of stair climbing, etc. I enjoyed this session last time and it was just as good this time.

Because of the warmer weather there were midges everywhere. I never realised midges were sensible before. They don't seem to come out when the temperature is below zero. When I was riding home there were a lot more people out and about too. I thought that maybe I was a lot later than usual but I got home at about the same time.

On Tuesday I felt a little sore during the day. I've been fine today, but I have a feeling that I'll be suffering tomorrow. I remember that the overhead shadow boxing had a way of reminding me that I'd done it.

Tonight I had my PT session with Julia. I warmed up on the bike before the session, as I don't want to waste any of my half hour on the warm up. The session was pretty much the same as last week. We only did one set of squats as I told Julia I'd done 45 of them this morning. I was pleased to be able to do 4 lots of the 5 squats and hold on the 5th. My legs were really feeling it. I am wondering how they'll hold up after PT with Krissi tomorrow.

The chest press was much easier today. I mentioned to Julia that she was the first PT who wasn't telling me to tighten my abs. I said, laughingly, that maybe I was finally doing it. She told me that was why she wasn't saying it. She even mentioned that I was self-correcting when I relaxed them. I was pleased - it seems that almost three years of being told to do something is all it takes for me to remember to do it most of the time.

The only difference today was that I did one set of dead lifts. I've never done these before. Normally I'm watching for my lower back to start helping and locking on my abs to stop it. This exercise is one where my lower back is meant to do the work for a change, so it felt a little strange.

I'm pretty sure I'll sleep well tonight.

Oh, an update on my Mum. I haven't been mentioning her health while she's been waiting to have her heart operation (a heart valve replacement). She almost had it a few weeks ago but a slight bug prevented it from happening. Anyway, to cut a long story short, she had it on Monday and is recovering really well. She was moved from ICU to the ward yesterday and I was able to phone her today. It was lovely to hear her voice. I'll be home this weekend to see her.

JoJo, your comment about wanting to do everything made me think about it. I figure that I want to do everything simply because I can. Three years ago I couldn't have done any of it, so now I want to it all. I love being able to do stuff that most of the people I know wouldn't contemplate.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Fitness challenge and Yoga

This morning I made it to the Outdoor Group Fitness Challenge. I was really looking forward to it after missing the first two sessions. As usual, I rode my bike to Lennox Gardens. It seemed much easier today. In fact, I managed to stay seated for the hills. Either riding to work has improved my cycling fitness or the bike service has made a huge difference.

There were several new people in the group, which certainly adds interest, along with a core of familiar faces. It was interesting to see how the new people were handling the work. It reminded me of my first challenge, when all the activities were new and I wasn't quite sure what to do. Knowing what to expect makes it less daunting.

It was the agility session today. After the warm up Brad took us through the activities, which were arranged in a rectangular area. He makes it look so incredibly easy. The activities included the ladder exercise, where you step between the rungs with both feet, starting with the right foot for the first ladder and the left foot for the second ladder; jumping in and out of a circle of cones, clockwise and anti-clockwise; standing jumps; a short shuttle run and a dodge and weave run. In between activities we ran around the rectangular area, jogging the long sides and sprinting the short sides.

The first time through we spent 2 mins per activity and the second time through 1 min per activity. We finished off with a shuttle run and then the cool down. I was really pleased with how hard I worked today. I made an effort to go as fast as I could on the short ends and I kept myself moving as much as possible.

This is the third time I've done the activity session and I'm really starting to see the improvement. I dreaded the jumping activities the first time. There's a picture of me doing one of them on the 121 website, along with a testimonial I wrote at the time. You can't tell from the photo how hard I was finding it, but I remember the feeling. I'm still not keen on the jumping, but I know I can do it.

I was a bit stiff and sore at work today, so I didn't run home this evening. I went to Yoga, which was terrific as ever for making sure I stretched out properly. we did a lot of "warrior" poses tonight. There are so many ways the instructor is able to get me tied into knots! We started off with a relaxing breathing exercise, complete with visualisations. I quite like these.

After that, we were kneeling down and then settled back onto our heels. It's a good shin stretch, but I just couldn't hold it at the beginning. We moved back into that position a number of times, so I persisted. I was able to hold it at the end, although I was really close to giving up and sitting cross-legged. I'm starting to get a few of the other poses at last. I felt as though I coped quite well tonight. I didn't have any cramps, which was a relief. I've started taking magnesium tablets and I hadn't just come from a run. It will be interesting to see how I go after a run next week.

I'm still in shock. I've signed up for the Triathlon training program that I mentioned the other day. Training starts next week, so I'll be busy. I'm a little apprehensive about the swimming and the cycling. I find it amazing that I've done this to myself. I've also started to look at what I'll need to do for the half marathon. I have a list of all the events I want to do next year, in Canberra and in Melbourne as well. I can't believe I'm this organised. I'm going to take a leaf out of lbtepa's book and use stars and stickers to reward myself. This is going to be fun.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Olympic Dream fun run

This morning Andrew, Laura, Michael and I completed the 5 km Olympic Dream fun run. It was the kids' first fun run, which made it pretty special. Laura and Michael's parents came along to watch, which was lovely. It was also handy, as Lynda looked after our stuff for us. :-)

We met at a Southbank car park, as explaining where Birrarung Marr was to my sister was beyond me the other day. Every time I said, "You know where such and such is?" her answer was no. Of course, once we were there, the obvious land mark jumped immediately to mind. I should have remembered her horse obsession and organised to meet her at Champions.

The kids were amazed by how many runners and walkers were there. Mike explained, with enormous eyes, that he'd seen numbers in the 4900's. We lined up for the start and I reminded them that we'd be dodging around people and they'd be dodging around us. Fortunately we managed to start off with a group of runners rather than walkers which made it a lot easier. We stayed to the far right at the start and managed to get ourselves into a clear space fairly early on.

We told Lynda and Pat that we thought we'd be back at around the 35 - 40 minute mark. Lynda took a few photos of the start for us. After the race they told us they'd found a place to sit near the finish line and had just sat down when they heard all this cheering. The winner was just crossing the line about 15 mins after the race started. They were pretty impressed.

The four of us stayed together for the first part of the race. We started off slowly, at about 7 min/km pace, as Laura wanted to run as much of the 5 km as possible. Near the 2 km mark she was struggling a little, so I told the boys they could run on ahead, while Laura and I slowed down. She was determined to run further than the 2 km she did last week before stopping to walk so she was aiming to make it to the 2.5 km mark. She made it to about 2.7 km before walking up a hill. Overall, Laura managed to run a little more than 4 km of the 5 km course, which was a great effort.

As we neared the end we were running down the last hill. I told Laura that if she wanted to go faster I'd be able to keep up. She took off, I sped up and next thing you know we were passing lots of people on the way down the hill. One lady tried to speed up when she heard us coming, but we had no trouble passing her. It was great fun. We managed to cross the line together, which was a really nice way to finish the run.

Our splits were 6:54, 7:03, 7:47, 8:07 and 6:17 (5:29 - my Garmin measured the course 0.15 km short). The official results aren't back in, but our unofficial time is 35:21. The boys finished a couple of minutes ahead of us.

At the end of the race the kids were bubbling over with pleasure. They were delighted with themselves for finishing the race. They enjoyed their bling. Lynda, Pat and I gave them heaps of postive feedback. I'm pretty sure I've got a team of running companions any time I want them. I've put the photos up on Facebook. Here's one of the four of us at the end.

Friday, 23 November 2007

PT, PT and hill run

I've been too busy to blog. Normally when I don't blog it means I haven't exercised, but I did get to the gym on Thursday and to PT and for a run on Friday.

Thursday PT

After a week of not feeling quite right and missing the first two sessions of the outdoor fitness challenge, I headed off to the gym on Thursday evening for my PT session with Julia. I figured I'd manage a half hour session without too much trouble. I warmed up on the treadmill. The tv screens have arrived, but I didn't have my earphones with me so I turned mine off. I was then confronted with my reflection. As I was expecting to do a weights session I hadn't worn a running bra, so there I was on the screen, bouncing away. I decided that walking was probably a much better option. If I'd been seeing Krissi or Leanne I would have been wearing something I could run and jump in. I'll have to change my mindset for my sessions with Julia or I'll end up not taking them seriously.

The session itself was fine. Rather than waiting for her to ask me about any injuries, I told Julia about my knee to be on the safe side. The program she had planned for me wasn't going to cause any problems, which was good. We started off with fitball squats. I was a little 'ho-hum' about them as I think I've advanced well past them, but I decided to give Julia a chance to work out where I was at for herself. To my surprise, the variation Julia had me doing was quite challenging. On the fifth squat I had to stay down while she counted. I'm not sure how long I was down each time, but it did get progressively longer and I was really glad to stop after the fifth set of five.

After the squats Julia had me doing dumbbell chest presses. She asked me what weight I'd been using. I've only recently progressed to the bottom row of weights, so I was more than happy to tell her 8 kg. We repeated the squats (4 lots of 5 this time, with longer holds on the fifth squat) and then the chest presses, before doing triceps pushbacks using a 3 kg weight. After this we did some killer butt exercises on the floor. I was fairly impressed by these. A bit of stretching at the end and that was the session.

I'm not all that keen on the Fernwood PT session structure. While being stretched by the trainer is "nice" it's not essential, and I'd rather do a more comprehensive set of exercises and get some abs work as well. It seems that abs work has fallen off the radar. I don't know when the session structure changed exactly, but the PT's at our gym were able to resist it while the gym was being managed from Melbourne. Now that there's an on-site manager it seems we're stuck with following the recipe approach to PT.

Julia made a comment that she didn't want people leaving her sessions feeling like they hadn't worked hard enough. On reflection, it sounds to me as though some of the other clients might not like this new approach either. I'll see how it goes, but at this stage I don't think I'll be renewing my PT sessions when my contract comes to an end.

Friday PT

I had my PT session at Krissi's place. She's set up a room in her home as a training studio and this was my first session there. It was good to see the set up as I've been hearing all about it from Krissi and the others. I was able to have a great workout. It started with a 10 minute warmup on the bike. Not exactly my favourite form of cardio, but I only had myself to blame. I planned to run at lunchtime so I opted for the bike instead of a jog in the park.

After I warmed up Krissi did some great stretches with me. I felt really spoiled. I then did some static lunges off the step to work on stability. It's when I do stuff like this that Krissi's experience really shows. Krissi watches me like a hawk and makes sure that my form is good. For example, my posture is better on my stronger leg. She explains what she's seeing and works with me to correct the problems. I get a real sense of what the exercise ought to feel like and I know why I should take the trouble to recreate that feeling when I'm doing it on my own.

One of the things the group of women that I train with often laugh about is the way we hear our personal trainer's voice in our heads when they aren't there. Julia doesn't mention locking on my abs at all but I hear this chorus of voices - Sarah, Leanne and Krissi - telling me to breathe and to keep my abs locked on to protect my lower back etc.

We then did barbell chest presses. We loaded the bar up with 5 kg weights. When I do that on the Smith machine I think of that as a warmup but I was finding it hard going. After the first set I managed eight pushups then struggled to get to 10 reps in the second set. In fact, I think I'd have to call it nine and a half. I thought I was still exhausted and mentioned that to Krissi. She pointed out that the bar itself weighed another 5 kg, not to mention the things that were holding on the weights. I felt a lot better hearing that. I don't know what the Smith machine equivalent would be and I don't really care. I've a new baseline now and I'll be able to measure improvement from it.

We did some triceps pulldowns using a rope instead of a fixed bar. Krissi explained how to hold the rope to get the maximum benefit from the exercise. It really did make a difference. Some lower back exercises and we were done. I really enjoyed the workout.

Friday Hill Run

One of the guys at work, Tom, asked if I'd like to go running with him at lunch time, so I did. I warned him that I'm a slow runner but he didn't seem to mind. Tom told me that he found running more fun when he had company. We headed off just before midday, following a running route Tom had done a couple of times before. What he hadn't told me, until we were on our way, was that it was really hilly. I did get a choice between steep and not so steep, so I figured I may as well give steep a go. I managed to run about a third of the way up the hill before having to walk. I got myself going a few more times on the way up. Tom kept running on ahead and then coming back to collect me.

He assured me that once we got to the top it would be downhill (strange that). What he didn't tell me was that there were several more steep hills along the path. When I loaded the info from my Garmin into my pc I discovered that we gained 200 m of elevation during our 5.5 km run. We also lost them again on the way back. When I get back to Canberra I'll load the elevation profile up into this blog entry. I was quite cautious running downhill. I imagine that I'll get faster as I become more confident that I can keep my balance.

We ran along the trail for 25 minutes and then back again. I found it challenging, but we both really enjoyed it. It was hard work but the company helped. Running this route once a week is going to really help my fitness. It's also going to be great preparation for City to Surf next year.

We missed the turnoff on the way back, so we ended up tearing across country for the last few hundred metres, which was fun. It was raining so I wasn't worried about snakes out sunning themselves. 5.5 km in 50 minutes is pretty slow but it was a great workout. Best of all, my knee is fine today.